Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learning Curve

Disaster falls.

That's the first full width warp I tried to wind onto my new 28" Ashford Knitter's Loom. Let me just say that there is absolutely nothing - nothing - wrong with the AKL itself. It's very easy to set up and learn, and the mechanism for how it works is even easier to understand. I absolutely adore it now that I have been able to weave on it, and I think it has found a forever home with me. There are a couple of little things I'm a bit iffy about (the clamps seem kind of... eh. Even when the knobs are as tight as I can make them, I can still sort of move the pieces with a bit of a pull or push, but if I'm not trying to test it, it stays in place just fine. And the down position of the reed is difficult to "get", but once you actually have the warp on, it clicks into place. That's all.), but I would definitely recommend this to a friend! As a bonus: it comes with its own bag! A very sturdy bag, might I add.

That being said, I still screwed up for my first full project.

You mean I can't wind it back and forth?
The problems from what I understand were relatively numerous:

  • I chose for my warp a loose 2-ply cotton/acrylic slub. It stuck to itself, it shed EVERYWHERE, it broke apart at the slightest provocation; it wasn't the best choice of warp thread.
  • I was winding the warp on solo, and following the Ashford pdf instructions on how to do that. It looked like the person had twisted the bunch of warp threads to keep it tight, so I did that, even as I wondered whether that would create some problems (one side would definitely be tighter than the other, right?). And I had no idea how hard I had to pull, so I yanked it so hard the clamp went free and I had to Mulan it with one foot keeping the loom from falling onto the floor as I pulled the threads back. It didn't work very well.
  • Wrong knot. I used the entire bunch of threads (in bouts of 8) to tie a knot, which made it uneven.
  • To remedy the problem, I tried to wind it all onto the front and rewind the whole thing - it didn't work.

So I ended up just cutting and tossing, which saved me a bunch of time, effort, and tears. Look below at the close up of what I was dealing with. A snarled bunch of sticky threads that were shedding everywhere. Everywhere.
A close up. And you haven't even seen the detritus.
And then I put on a new one several days later using a much less stickier yarn (also cotton/acrylic, I think) that also happened to be much smoother. And I tried not pulling as though my life depended on it and just enough to keep the threads from going slack. From the front instead of the back (which killed my back, so maybe I'll have to try the yank & crank method next time). I still had some trouble keeping even tension while winding on, since the middle was looser than the sides; I ended up pushing my thumb down on the middle portion to increase the pressure on it and that worked fine for me.

Then something miraculous happened: the sheds actually opened! I could finally weave!
Even (enough) tension across to actually weave!
 To be honest, I've finished this scarf already - it's a bit rough, but that's just the yarn. I will have to take pictures of it later, but it only took me 4 days! Whoa. If I were knitting a piece that big, in stockinette, it'd probably take me at least a couple of weeks if not a month or so! I'm pretty excited about all the possibilities!

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